summit block as viewed from the western ridge
Cerro Cebadero is a fairly small protrusion on a much longer east-west ridge that divides the plain of Actopan near the village of Yolotepec from the wild mountainous regions of the Sierra Madre Oriental and Pozuelos to the north. The ridge actually rises a bit higher to the east, but that portion is unnamed. To the west the ridge terminates at the foot of Cerro Temboo and the hamlet of El Mezquital.
The summit block is somewhat hollow in the center owing to a cave that can be accessed from the west side. The entrance is obscured by vegetation, but is visible as the dark spot under the summit in the above photos. The cave is well lit due to the fact that it reaches up to a hole nearer the summit; no headlamps are needed to visit during the day.
The name Cebadero is a Spanish word referring to barley, perhaps a reference to it's appearance. The mountain was visible in several scenes from the classic Mexican anti-Western Los Hermanos del Hierro
, filmed in the area in 1961.
Driving from Mexico City, get on the main drag Insurgentes and head north. It’s almost that simple. Once the D.F. gives way to the Estado de Mexico, follow signs for “Pachuca Cuota”. The toll is only a few dollars or less and well worth it. A little after the toll highway terminates you will approach the outskirts of Pachuca, the capital of Hidalgo state. Avoid entering Pachuca by watching for a turn off at an overpass with a small sign for “Actopan”. This highway now rings around Pachuca and in about 15 minutes drops you down a steep hill into the Valley del Mezquital. It’s all straight ahead here never leaving the highway, first through the outskirts of Actopan (about 10 more minutes) and then (another 15 minutes onward) to the village of Yolotepec, sight of an impressive 16th century church.
From Mexico City’s Terminal del Norte main bus station (easily accessible via Metro), buses leave at least every hour for Ixmiquilpan. Save a few pesos by asking for a Yolotepec ticket instead. At the village of Patria Nueva, get your stuff ready and head up to the driver and let him know you want Yolotepec, which is just ahead. The village stretches on for over a km, so the church is probably the best place to jump off. There is a pulqueria right next door if you are thirsty and feeling bravo.
From the U.S., highways run south in different spurs from Laredo or Brownsville. The altiplano route through Queretero is easier, running mostly on divided highways through the affluent Bajio region, but the Huasteca route via Tamazunchale, traveling on two-lane roads through less populated and less civilized jungle and cloud forest, is more direct. Yolotepec is less than 20 minutes south of Ixmiquilpan on the Panamerican Highway #85, up the steep curva de Pastores and barely a mile past the village of Julián Villagrán.
See the linked routes section to the left for info on different ways to the summit.
While none of the mountains or wilderness areas of the Mezquital Valley of Hidalgo state are private property, they are not really public either. Most fall under the effective jurisdiction of local pueblos as communal ejido areas. Ejido property rights are like Indian reservations in the USA or Canada. These peaks are part of the common areas of the ejido for the use of local community members to graze their goats or sheep, gather firewood from bushes, collect edible or medicinal plants, etc. In el Valle del Mezquital the overwhelmingly predominant indigenous group is the Otomí (who call themselves Hñahñu
Before starting up you should locate and contract with a local to accompany you. Anyone from the local village will do, as long as they look fit enough, of course, and can speak Otomí. Younger people generally don’t speak the language well so should be avoided. If you are lucky your guide might even have some knowledge of the route. But that is secondary. Without a suitable local in tow, you would be considered a trespasser and could get yourself in trouble. Watch the film Canoa
if you have more questions.
Cerro Cebadero pertains to the municipality of Santiago de Anaya, and more specifically the village of Yolotepec. Anyone from Yolotepec who fits the above qualifications could accompany you up there. I’ve gone with Luis Hipolito who knows the area well (tel ). Another option is to start from the hamlet of El Mezquital, which is a sub-settlement of Yolotepec. This would allow you to park your car in someone’s yard and start right from their house at the foot of the ridge. I have gone this way with the mechanics from Los Hermanos Corona (tel ) in the nearby settlement of La Loma who know a lot of people there. See routes to the left for more info on those options.
Camping is not a frequent activity in these parts however it would be fine with a guide and preferably not in obvious sight. The almost complete absence of water would mean you would need to carry a lot up there, however.
1:50,000 scale topo maps of the region are available for this area under the title Ixmiquilpan. They are produced by the Mexican government agency INEGI and are quite well done. They are sometimes available at the Mexico City airport at vendor station #61, or at the Inegi headquarters at 71 Balderas in Mexico City. I have always had the best luck, however, from a map vendor at the round Insurgentes metro station. He has every single one, and while he can only sell you a B&W photocopy (about $1, they are big), you have a much better chance of at least finding a copy of the map you want with him.